AI business

An AI Ethics Council composed of experts and thought leaders from U.S. academic institutions has been founded to address ethical and security concerns in AI development and utilization.

At the heart of the council’s mission is the principle of AI governance, an area encompassing the practice of data minimization—ensuring AI models only access the data they need and responsibly discard the rest.

Beyond this, the group’s focus extends to enhancing transparency and explainability of AI-powered predictions. Meetings will be held quarterly, with the inaugural session having already been held on February 21, where the focus was on AI governance.

Founded by Ikigai Labs, the inaugural members include Dr. Devavrat Shah, co-founder and CEO of Ikigai, and Dr. Munther Dahleh, founding director of the Institute for Data Systems and Society (IDSS) and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.

Other founding members include Aram Gavoor from George Washington University, Dr. Michael Kearns from the University of Pennsylvania and Kamal Ahluwalia, president of Ikigai.

By deliberating on topics such as AI governance, data minimization, confidentiality, lawfulness and accuracy, the council aims to establish comprehensive guidelines and best practices for responsible AI deployment. By leveraging the expertise of its members, the council can generate actionable recommendations and next steps for organizations navigating the evolving landscape of AI technology.

As the council expands, it aims to incorporate additional industry leaders to further enrich its discussions and recommendations.

Central to the mission of the AI Ethics Council is the principle of collaboration and open exchange of ideas with a wide array of stakeholders, including tech companies, regulatory authorities and civil society groups.

“Our approach to promoting responsible AI development hinges on transparency and actionable guidance,” Shah says.

After each quarterly council meeting, the council will disseminate a set of recommendations, outlining practical actions and considerations for organizations to adopt.

“This not only catalyzes industry-wide discussion but also encourages collaborative efforts towards ethical AI practices,” he says.

Furthermore, Shah says Ikigai Labs is committed to leading by example, pledging to adopt and implement these recommended actions.

“Through this dual strategy of publishing our insights and practicing what we preach, we aim to build a framework for responsible AI innovation that resonates across sectors,” he says.

Shah explains ethical and responsible innovation in GenAI is one of the leading issues for enterprises and the tech industry, underscored by multiple high-profile lawsuits and recent government decisions, including the EU’s AI Act and Biden’s executive order.

“A multitude of ethical challenges have emerged in AI development, ranging from bias and discrimination to concerns over privacy and security,” he says.

He says these challenges highlight the imperative for a council of decision-makers and thought leaders dedicated to fostering transparency, data privacy and accuracy within the industry.

“These challenges are emblematic of the ethical challenges the council is dedicated to addressing, striving to set benchmarks for AI development and deployment that honor our collective responsibility to society,” he says.

He adds as AI technologies continue to evolve at a breakneck pace, and their applications permeate every facet of our lives, the AI Ethics Council’s role would become ever more critical.

“Our founding members’ diverse expertise across various fields primes us for agility, allowing us to pivot our focus towards the most urgent issues as they emerge,” Shah says. “Diversity and representation are important to the growth of our council.”

He notes the council’s foundation is built on the expertise of the founding members – a group of academics and thought leaders with a dedication to the field of AI from a kaleidoscope of backgrounds. They were selected for their breakthrough research and distinguished expertise in data science, data-driven decision-making, social systems, AI and ethical algorithms and law and national security. The council also plans to add members to represent additional perspectives.

“We now have expert representation across research, policy and industry, but this is merely our launch pad to help enterprises learn and adapt solutions to serve clients in the best possible fashion,” he says. “Our mission is clear: to ensure the council mirrors the diverse global community it serves, enriching our discussions and decisions with a multitude of voices and experiences.”